This category is for maps, as opposed to GPS trails. Maps can be paper maps and can include large collections of trails which have been merged into a large network.

Military Maps of Particular Interest to Hikers in Chiang Mai


Someone asked me about which of the military maps were of particular interest to hikers in CM. So I have put together a list of ones that cover trails that we know about around CM.

Some of you may know of other areas in the North of Thailand or other parts of Thailand that particularly warrant exploration. If so please leave a comment below, we would be very interested to here from you.

Some of these maps may still be available at DK Books in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately the main CM one, 4746 I, is sold out and it does not sound like DK will be ordering more copies. You can order them from the Royal Thai Survey Department in BKK. The phone no for ordering maps from BKK is here on our web site in our previous article about the military maps. These maps are all in the L7018S series they are rolled maps, some of the L7017 older folded maps may still be available at DK Books but the L7018 series are a little more up to date and accurate.

I have heard that the country was resurveyed to produce these new maps because of personal interest by the King who is keen on maps and who wondered why the maps that were available were based on data from a survey that was so long ago.

Here are the maps I think are of particular interest :

  • 4746 I Chiang Mai – covers nearly all the hikes that the hiking group does. 4746 II covers Ob Khan National Park and III and IV cover other mostly forested areas around CM which have potential for finding trails although they are a little further afield.
  • 4846 I and 4847 II Covers the trails at the front and back of Doi Langka Luang the 6th highest mountain in Thailand. 4846 I also covers the trails around Mae Kampong (flight of the gibbons area) and the as yet unexplored by the hiking group trails developed around Pang Sung Lodge.
  • 4846 III covers the area that Andrew recently guided us around near his house the Huay Lan Watershed hike.
  • 4747 I covers Doi Chiang Dao and surrounds.
  • 4849 III covers Doi Pah Hom Bok the 2nd highest mountain in Thailand. There is a short trail to the top of this mountain. It is easy to do and well marked and doesn’t really require a map.
  • 4646 II covers the trail up the back of Doi Inthanon.

This Google Earth overlay of the military map index displays in Google Earth and shows you the area that every single one of the military maps covers. So you can easily search for a particular area on Google Earth and turn on the index map overlay and see which military map you need. The ones in red may not be available for sale to the public because they are militarily sensitive areas but you should check this as the index is a little out of date.

Anthropogenic Biome maps – scientists have mapped the world and classified areas according to human impact


Found this link very interesting. There is a map available of the world that classifies areas according to human impact on them. I am primarily interested in this as it suggests good places to go hiking! The map is available to download and display in Google Earth. See the screen shots of the area around Northern Thailand below. Chiang Mai is the dark red horizontal bar in the center of the image Anthropogenic biome map of Northern Thailand – the first image below. You can see that around us there are several areas denoted ‘Remote Forest’ which means <1 person population per square km. There is a large block like this North of CM. I cannot see any areas in Thailand classified as ‘wild’ unfortunately. (more…)

New Thai military maps have been released


There has been an update of the Thai military maps which are available to the public. The military maps are topographical maps (ie. with contour lines showing altitude) that cover all of Thailand. The new maps are based on data from 2007 whereas the old maps which I have been using are based on aerial imagery from 1991. Below is a section of the map for Chiang Mai, showing Huay Tung Thao and the reservoir behind the 700 year stadium.

Small Sample Section of Map for Chiang Mai – copyright Royal Thai Survey Department

sample of 4746-I Chiang Mai map from the Royal Thai Survey Department - copyright Royal Thai Survey Department

sample of 4746-I Chiang Mai map from the Royal Thai Survey Department - this time after improving colors with 'auto level' in photoshop - copyright Royal Thai Survey Department

The new maps are available in DK books. Look for the rolled maps in boxes on the floor next to the book display. They are also still selling the old maps there, they are the green folded maps on the map display stand. At DK Books each new map is 150 B. The maps are also available from the Royal Thai Survey Department in Bangkok who you can call on 0898085775 (ask for Khun Oo). They sell the paper maps for 100 B each and have scanned digital versions of the maps available for 200 B or you can pay 1,400 B for the original vector map file which is a layered editable file of roads etc. I was able to order maps from them and pay by transferring money into their Thai Military Bank bank account in Bangkok. I was charged 200 B delivery charges for EMS mail. It seems they only speak Thai in the office.

This Google Earth overlay that I made can be used to find the index number of the map that covers a particular area you are interested in. It shows what map index number covers what area. As with all of these types of image overlays in Google Earth you can adjust the transparency with the slider below the ‘My Places’ side box. You will notice that this is the index grid for the L7017 S series of maps. This is the old series of maps but the index grid for the new series is just the same. The boundaries of each map as shown by the overlay are fractionally different from the real map but the overlay is not off by much. Here is a screen shot of the map overlaid on the Google Earth map :
Here also is a pdf from the Royal Thai Survey Department showing the index number grid on a map of Thailand.

In the hiking club we have some experience of using the scanned versions of these maps with gps equipment so that you can see your and other people’s tracks in real time overlaid onto the military maps.

You can find a discussion I started about getting the paper versions of these maps scanned at a high resolution in Chiang Mai here.

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